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Lega Bwami Hat Mussel Shells Congo Africa

Regular Price: $199.00

Special Price: $92.00

Product #: 102178
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Title Lega Bwami Hat Mussel Shells Congo Africa
Type of Object Ceremonial Hat
Country of Origin DR Congo
People Lega
Materials basket, vegetal fiber, mussel shell, buttons
Approximate Age Mid 20th century
Dimensions 5.5 inches tall x 7 inches diam. Drop is 14 inches
Overall Condition Good
Damage/Repair general wear, chipped and broken shells, dirt and grime

Additional Information: Lega hats reveal status among the Bwami secret society which governs most of Lega life. Animals are important in Bwami symbolism, and elephant, pangolin, and hornbill all represent different levels of Bwami. This one is decorated with vegetal fibers, dried seed pods, mussel shells and imported buttons. Hats such as this were worn by the grader members of the Bwami, the Ngandu and Yananio. They were worn during the ceremonies and dances celebrating new graders or initiates.

For a fascinating article with numerous examples, see Elizabeth Cameron's article on Lega Hats in Arnoldi and Kreamer's CROWNING ACHIEVEMENTS-AFRICAN ARTS OF DRESSING THE HEAD.